BTS: February 2014

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 Sail Chicago is a not-for-profit community sailing program. 
Its mission is to offer quality instruction in sailing and boating safety, and to provide affordable sailing opportunities to its members and others in the Chicago area.
Issue #2
February, 2014

By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor


Gary Thrane
Gary Thrane.

Chicago's winter has got us firmly in its grip. It's hard to imagine that we could ever again sail on Lake Michigan, given its gray, icy waters. Yet spring will come.


In the meantime, we can plan for the coming sailing season. One thing to do is review essential sailors' knots. A few minutes practice will ensure that you can tie these knots on a heaving deck with your eyes closed. For a good, animated website review of essential sailors' knots, click here.  A number of sailing seminars are also available for the snow-bound Chicago sailor:  see John Lemon's article below.


Now is a good time, too, to inspect life jackets to make sure that they're charged to inflate if immersed in water.


Those who are planning to skipper this coming season need to be sure that they've completed their required volunteer time.  (See article below for more detail.)  If you still have this obligation to fulfill, you can check what jobs you can take here.



The Sail Chicago Board has endorsed four candidates to fill expiring three-year terms on the Board.  They are:

To review the Candidate Fact Sheet for each candidate, please click on the names listed above.  Remember, you will not be able to vote for candidates unless you are a current member (dues for 2014 paid).  You may pay your current dues at the meeting with a check only (see article below). 



Sail Chicago has a new website.  It's cleaner, easier to navigate, and takes advantage of some of the latest technological developments. While it's still a work in progress, it already has many of the features that Sail Chicago members know and love.  New features include an events calendar that can help you to keep track of what's happening in Sail Chicago.  Check back often to see what other new features have been added.


Our thanks go to member Alfred Chan for spearheading this new improvement.


Colgate 26 Racing
Sailing season will return!

From the editor...
Candidates for Board Positions
Sail Chicago's New Website
Remember and Anticipate!
Dates to Note
Who to Contact
Sail Chicago Annual Member Meeting
Sail Chicago at Strictly Sail
Chicago Maritime Festival
Required Service Time
Sailing Seminars for Winter Learning
The End of Paper Charts?
Coastal Navigation Seminar
January Board Meeting
February 13 - Sail Chicago Board Meeting
February 22 - Chicago Maritime Festival*
February 27 - Annual Member Meeting*
April 26 - Move Rhodes and Ideals to Montrose Harobr
May 3 - Move Colgates, Rhodes, and ideals to Monroe Harbor, Move curising boat to Belmont Harbor.
*See article in this issue
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Instruction  - Michael Swisher
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Faith Hillis
Purchasing Agent - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety Director - John Lemon
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Bill Prindle
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly
Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Maureen Huston
Frank Loftus
Pat Webster


Sail Chicago members and guests are invited to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, February 27th.  It will be held in the 2nd floor meeting room of the St. Vincent DePaul Center, 2145 North Halsted (Halsted and Webster).  Doors will open at 6:15 pm and the meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm. Underground parking at the Center is available at no charge and is accessible from Webster Street. Cars must be out of the parking lot by 9:00 pm.  The meeting will end by not later than 8:45 pm.  After the formal meeting we will adjourn to the Halsted Harp, a local establishment across the street, for refreshments and continued conversation.


The meeting will feature the annual "State of Sail Chicago" report by our Board Chairman and program heads, election of Directors for new three-year terms, and a question-and-answer period with the Board. This year presentations will be streamlined so that there will ample time for discussion.


Paper membership forms will be at the meeting registration desk.  We CANNOT accept credit card payments at the meeting, so remember to bring your checkbook. In order to vote for Board candidates, members MUST have paid their dues for 2014.


We hope you will be able to attend and help us roll out our 2014 sailing season!  



Ed Jacob, Mike Swiontek, Amber Kelly
Sail Chicago exhibits at Strictly Sail.


Sail Chicago once again made its presence felt in a big way at the 2014 Strictly Sail Chicago show, January 23 - January 26, at Navy Pier. The event is the largest of its kind in the Midwest and includes virtually everything a sailor or boat owner needs to know about boats, gear, accessories, where and how to sail, certifications, and much, much more.  Hundreds of exhibitors jammed Navy Pier's Festival Hall to display their wares and discuss the finer points of sailing.


Sail Chicago was one of those exhibitors. Over 40 Sail Chicago students and members generously donated their time to staff our booth during the event. Our motto, "Come Sail with Us," could be heard echoing throughout Festival Hall at Navy Pier during the show as our volunteers, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Sail Chicago logo directed show-goers to our booth.  These efforts were not unrewarded. More than sixty Show visitors signed up to learn more about Sail into Summer, our New Member Package, as well as our Colgate Racing Program.


Volunteers at the Sail Chicago booth

An additional benefit of attending the event for Sail Chicago members was the opportunity to renew acquaintances and friendships with other sailors in the Chicago area.  Several people who stopped by our booth told us that they had first been introduced to sailing by taking lessons through Sail Chicago.  Most were current boat owners, and a few had assumed important roles in other sailing organizations in the Chicago area.  It was rewarding for our current members to learn what a significant impact Sail Chicago has had on the Chicago sailing community throughout the years.


Thanks to all those who helped to make our presence at Strictly Sail Chicago felt in a very positive way.  We look forward to doing the same thing again next year.



The 12th annual Chicago Maritime Festival will be held this year on February 22, at the Chicago History Museum.  During the day, there will be a full lineup of seminars, demonstrations, exhibits, and workshops. Explore a range of topics, including underwater archeology, safety at sea, marine art, history, model boat building for kids, and other aspects of the Great Lakes' rich maritime traditions. 


At an evening concert, enjoy international maritime music by Bob Zentz, Hardtackers Shanty Crew, Ed Trickett, Barbary Ghosts, and Tom & Chris Kastle.  For more information, click here.   


By Chris Garvey

Now is the time to make sure you have your service time requirements satisfied for the 2014 sailing season. If you have not been able to satisfy your service time requirements or if last season was your first season to sail, you need to sign up for a job by May 1 in order to have sailing privileges in the summer.  If you cannot do service time for any reason, you can "opt out" by paying $400.  If you have already signed up for a job, you do not need to sign up again.


Once the new web site is fully operational, you can sign up for service time by going to your personal login page and click "sailchicagojobs."


There are a wide variety of things that you can do to fulfill your obligation. There are jobs open in all divisions: maintenance, instruction, operations, financial, programs, and marketing.  To see the offerings, click here.


If you are not sure whether your service time has been satisfied, check with your program coordinator. If you have other questions, you can contact Chris Garvey.



 By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator


John Lemon

For those of you looking to further your sailing education over the winter months, several organizations are offering a variety of classes and seminars.  Some are free, and some charge a fee.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  If you know of a class, send the information to the editor so it can be included in upcoming issues.



By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator


Many of you may have read articles in the sailing press reporting that the federal government will no longer be printing nautical charts as of April 2014.  This is due in part to the widespread adoption of electronic navigation devices (global positioning system and chart plotters).  Demand for paper nautical charts has declined significantly over the past few years.  Does this mean that sailors no longer need to carry paper charts and know how to understand and use them? The answer is a resounding "No!"


In preparing for the recent seminar on Coastal Navigation, I was reviewing the January 4, 2014, Notice to Mariners, a weekly publication by the Coast Guard and National Ocean Service.  I came across the following commentary in the section entitled "The Prudent Mariner":


"The aids to navigation depicted on charts comprise a system consisting of fixed and floating aids with varying degrees of reliability.  Therefore, prudent mariners will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation, particularly a floating aid.  An aid to navigation also refers to any device or structure external to a craft, designed to assist in determination of position.  This includes celestial, terrestrial, and electronic means, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and Differential GPS (DGPS).  Here, too, the prudent mariner will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation."


Thus, we are cautioned to use our paper charts and multiple external clues to locate our vessel on the water.  GPS is considered an aid to navigation.  As US Sailing notes in its very good text on the subject, "Electronics make a good navigator better, but they may well delude a novice into a false sense of security which leads to a downfall."   The January issue of Blue Water Sailing also included a very good commentary.  


I like the concept of "The Prudent Mariner" so much that it will become the title of a monthly column on safety-related topics.  As the new Safety Coordinator, I'll use it as a way to share ideas and suggestions of how we all can be safer on the water.  Please send your suggestions and requests to me.




2014 Coastal Navigation Seminar Attendees
Coastal navigation partiicipants

On January 28, almost thirty stalwart sailors braved the bitter cold to attend the first of three in Sail Chicago's winter seminar series at REI Lincoln Park Community Room.  Safety Director John Lemon did a great job of clarifying one of the trickiest topics in sailing--Coastal Navigation. He presented a broad overview of the subject, giving just enough detail to whet attendees' appetites for more information.


John began by telling the group that the seminar would help to answer two of life's deepst philosophical questions as they relate to sailing: 1) Where am I now? and 2) Where am I going?  He then detailed some of the resources available to sailors for learning more about coastal navigation.  These include such sources as the US Sailing book titled Coastal Navigation, as well as NOAA's U. S. Chart 1, along with various nautical charts published by the U. S. Coastal survey.  He then went on to show some of the necessary tools for coastal navigation.  These included the parallel rule, dividers, and the hand-bearing compass.


Throughout the seminar, John stressed the importance of sailors knowing where they are on the water at all times.  This is particularly critical in emergencies when a skipper must notify the Coast Guard of an accident or capsize.  John demonstrated how to plot a course and how to find your boat's location through sightings of shore landmarks.  He also pointed out that even in the day-sails that most Sail Chicago members and students take, there can be hidden dangers such as Morgan and Hyde Park Shoals south of McCormick Place.


After a question-and-answer period, the group adjourned to a local tavern where they continued their discussion of coastal navigation in a more informal atmosphere.



By Fiona Ray


Sail Chicago's Board of Directors held their monthly meeting January 9, 2014. The Board discussed and acted on the following:

  • Marketing materials for the Strictly Sail Show (Navy Pier, Jan 23-26th) were reviewed.
  • The initial draft of the organization's long-term (five-year) strategic plan was also reviewed. (Further refinement is underway and will be presented at the February board meeting.)
  • Nominees for open positions for the Board of Directors were presented by the Board Development Committee. Elections will be held at the Annual Member Meeting on February 27th
  • Boat usage fees for the 2014 season were approved.
  • Web site and communication optimization led by Alfred Chan is continuing; payment receipt functionality will be restored by March.
  • The purchase of an additional Colgate 26 is under contract; the vessel will be in service for 2014 season. 

The next Board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 13.


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